You can’t help but be attracted to the beauty of camellias and other acid loving plants. It makes them one of the most popular plants in New Zealand gardens.

Here is a quick guide to pests and diseases that camellias can be prone to.

 Aphids

These small and easily recognised insects are associated with new growth. May occur on flower buds during autumn or even winter and new growth in spring.

Symptoms: Clusters of insects on young growth
Remedy: Spray with Enspray Oil or Confidor at 2 weekly intervals

 Mites

Mites are another insect that can be found under the leaves of camellias as very fine dust like substance.

Symptoms: Leaves yellow (stippled or mottled) and dehydrated in hot dry weather Remedy: Spray with mite killer

 

Thrips

This pest invades our gardens in spring and early summer, they use favourable wind currents to cover large distances to spread through our gardens.

Symptoms: Leaves silver and dry. Brown-black specks appear on underside of leaves
Remedy: Spray with Enspray Oil or Confidor at 2-3 weekly intervals through summer

 Sooty mould

This unsightly black sticky substance is actually growing on the residue products secreted by aphids and scale.

Symptoms: Black sooty mould on leaves and twigs
Remedy: Spray with Enspray Oil or Confidor

 

Leaf gall

It is caused by the fungus Exobasidium camelliae. Leaf galls are most often observed during the spring flush of growth.

Symptoms: Developing leaves and flowers are thickened, fleshy and pale green. As the thickenings enlarge, they become white or pink, with powdery appearance during wet weather
Remedy: Remove and burn all infected parts. Spray with Enspray Oil or Mavrik.

Petal blight

Symptoms: Earliest symptom is light brown or whitish coloured circular spots on petals. Spots enlarge to form irregular blotches until whole flower collapses. Petals feel slimy when rubbed between fingers. Diseased flowers dry up and cling to the plant (leaves and stems are not affected)
Remedy: Avoid overhead watering. Pick off diseased flowers. Spray at two weekly intervals with GroSafe Fungus Fighter.

Lack of fertiliser

Symptoms: Leaves yellow and/or develop dark purple tone. Slow, stunted growth
Remedy: Fertilise with Butlers Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron food in late spring after flower finishes and just before new growth starts

Soil too alkaline

Symptoms: Decline in vigour and leaves turn yellow while the veins remain green
Palmers Remedy: Fertilise with Butlers Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Food in late spring after flowering finishes and just before new growth starts. Do NOT use lime.

 

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